The covers: Convention season is in full swing! How can you tell? Check out the number of covers available on any given comic, such as on this book — there are twelve! The A cover is by Ediano Silva and Ivan Nunes and features a lush image of Skye wielding her sword that’s projecting a huge amount of energy. The heroine looks great in a forest setting as violet energy pours from her blade. I didn’t notice until I began to write this review that her foe is reflected in her blade: it’s a genie! Strong cover for a strong character. The B cover is by Allan Otero and Sanju Nivangune. This also has Skye fighting a genie, but both characters are more clearly seen. The pair are enshrouded in blue smoke that winds around them as they are about to cross swords. I like the way the genie looks and Skye looks like Amy Acker. Good layout and wonderfully bright colors. Juan Carlos Ruiz does the cheesecake C cover which shows a voluptuous genie being summoned from a lamp, which is in the foreground being held by a hand. The character is beautiful and the background is highly detailed. The coloring on this is also very strong. This is one to seek out. The D cover is by Dan Leister and Aaron Best. This shows a lamp sitting upon a small blanketed dais, with someone reaching for it. The man’s face is in the shadows, though his smile and eyes are clearly seen, as are his hands that are about to grasp the device. There is dark violet smoke issuing from the lamp and writhing about the character. A creepy image, but very classic in its comic book look. The first variant cover is the Coast to Coast Live-Streaming Comic Con Exclusive by Ediano Silva and Ivan Nunes. It’s exactly the same art as the A cover, minus all backgrounds. Additionally, the coloring has been changed with only the sword maintaining its colors, while the background goes from hot pink, on the left, to white, on the right. Neat, just to see more of the art, but just okay, color-wise. Both St. Paddy’s Day Exclusives (limited to 250 and 100 copies) are illustrated by Mike DeBalfo and colored by Hedwin Zaldivar, but I couldn’t find an image of either online. The Emerald City Comic Con Exclusive (limited to 500) by Deacon Black did show up online, and it’s a WOW! This features a long raven haired girl wearing a soccer crop top, and a thong, squatting down next to a soccer ball. Her top is barely holding back her chest. The character is gorgeous and the coloring is excellent. There’s also a VIP Exclusive cover by Black that’s limited to 100 copies, but I couldn’t find it online. Another Emerald City Comic Con Exclusive (limited to 350) is by Greg Horn. This has full figured Skye on her right leg, revealing the same side to the reader, with her left hand outstretched, dispensing violet energy. As with Black’s cover, the heroine is gorgeous, but she looks much older than a character in her early twenties. Still, there’s no denying the beauty of this. There’s also another exclusive limited to 150 copies, but I couldn’t find an image of that anywhere online. Sadly, the same can be said of the Samantha Variant cover by Silva and Nunes. Overall grades: A A-, B A, C A, D B, Coast to Coast Live-Streaming Comic Con Exclusive B+, Emerald City Comic Con Exclusive (Black) A+, and Emerald City Comic Con Exclusive (Horn) A.
The story: The city of Patan in Nepal has a cloaked figure stopping outside the Mystical Golden Temple in the middle of the day. Just outside its entrance, the character produces a pitcher that has a ghastly smile on it and pours its contents on the ground, saying, “Arise…Find what I desire.” A crimson genie bearing a sword appears. It enters the building and kills everyone within. The cloaked figure enters and takes a pitcher, this one brightly decorated, from the body of one of the genie’s victims. The genie asks if it is now free, to which its master says, “Free…not exactly.” He holds up a small object and the genie is pulled into it. Thirty minutes later, Samantha Darren enters, discovering that those killed have been burned to ash. She thinks to herself, ‘His power is growing…’ This is a good introduction to “The Last Genie” by Joe Brusha: it’s got a mystery as to who the master is, what he or she is doing, and reintroduces Samantha into the Grimm Fairy Tales universe. The story transitions to a plane fifty miles from Kathmandu. On board are Skye and Shang, with the latter explaining why they’re joining Samantha and giving a brief history of genies. This is a welcome summary by Brusha, who keeps the story moving at a quick pace, even during major exposition such as this. At the airport something happens to Shang, leaving Skye to work with Samantha. The two set out to where they believe the cloaked figure will next appear and things happen there. This is a good adventure story with good surprises. It continues the mystery of who’s plotting against Skye, with one antagonist’s identity revealed. Overall grade: A
The art: Just when I thought that Ediano Silva can’t outdo himself, this issue shows he’s just getting warmed up! Silva is inked by Leonardo Paciarotti and this is a team that should never be split. The opening page has a really nice series of panels that builds up the setting, with the third being a beautiful shot of the Mystical Golden Temple. But with the turn of a page, Silva and Paciarotti create a truly terrifying genie. The figure is dynamic and the flame that’s coming off the character and swirling about it is magnificent. When the genie moves in the first panel on Page 3 it’s epic, as is the way in which he kills in the third panel. Both artists make the power of the genie amazing. And that adjective is absolutely fitting for the third panel on 4. Skye looks her age in this issue, but Shang is a little too skinny for me — he’s been seen with much broader shoulders than he’s shown in this book, which had me actually concerned about his health before anything happens to him. A new setting on Page 10 is rendered well, as is the new character that appears on 11. I was really impressed with the additional character on 13, though her coloring reminded me of Star Sapphire. The battle that goes down on 14 is excellent: I’ve been reading comics for several decades and I’ve never seen a winter battle like this! The magic that’s later released is also extremely well done, and the setting on 20 will produce a gasp from any reader. Silva and Paciarotti are really making this book a magical feast. Overall grade: A
The colors: Leonardo Paciarotti is also the colorist for this issue and it’s beautiful. The book begins with bright realistic colors on the opening page and morphs into hellish reds and yellows when the genie is summoned. The blending between these two colors by Paciarotti makes the art explode in epic fashion. The blues used on Page 7 don’t have the typical antiseptic feel that such settings usually evoke, and this leads to the injured person’s stay being much more optimistic than in most books. Yellows and oranges again reign supreme in a tale of a genie colored a brilliant green. Equally impressive is the use of blues and whites in the snowy location. The setting that the trio transports to on 20 is a completely departure from the other locations of the book not only in its visuals but in its colors, which create an excellent sense of desolation. Parciarotti is as masterful with his coloring as he is with his inking. Overall grade: A
The letters: The exceedingly talented Taylor Esposito of Ghost Glyph Studios creates scene settings, narration, dialogue, the story’s title, the book’s credits, genie dialogue, yells, sounds, an unknown antagonist’s unique speech font, and the tease for next issue. I’m so glad that Esposito gave the genies their own unique font for their speech; it furthers them from humans in an additional visual way. The yells that come out of some characters really bellow off the page, such as when Skye yells at Samantha. Esposito always brings his A game to any book he contributes to. Overall grade: A+
The final line: Excellent action and mystery with outstanding visuals make this an exceptional read. The new Grimm Fairy Tales has become a must read saga. Overall grade: A
To purchase a print copy of this book go to https://shop.zenescope.com/products/grimm-fairy-tales-vol-2-3
To purchase a digital copy of this book go to https://www.comixology.com/Grimm-Fairy-Tales-2016-3/digital-comic/471665?ref=c2VhcmNoL2luZGV4L2Rlc2t0b3Avc2xpZGVyTGlzdC90b3BSZXN1bHRzU2xpZGVy